Thursday, November 26, 2009

Squirrel Mischief

The artwork is Christmas related this week. I am definitely getting into the Christmas mode now. The cards are almost finished and my own are waiting to be written and posted before we have another national postal strike!!!

This is called "Unexpected" for obvious reasons. Not sure if there is a man in the background or whether the skimmer wants a kiss under the mistletoe.

A very stylised partridge in a pear tree.

This is a quick digital sketch I did last Christmas as a response to seeing a TV programme where one of the characters got fed up with all the Christmas razzmatazz. I think quite a few people look like this at the end of the festive period.
Now for some childrens' illustrations. I love browsing the charity shops for childrens' books. They are extremely cheap and have some amazing illustrations. This is from the book "The Winter Hedgehog" by Ann and Reg Cartwright. I really like the colour palatte they have used here and that gorgeous purple gallinule. This is from a blog called Childrens' Fantasy Illustrations which you can find here.

Alice and Martin Provensen are American artists who illustrated childrens' books in the main. They worked together to produce some amazing artwork and I have posted some examples below. They were a married couple and I believe she is still alive although he died in the 80s.

This is the Flickr site here where you can find the Alice and Martin Provensen group.

A book illustrated by the Provensens uploaded to Flickr by who can be found here.

An illustration from Karen's Opposites illustrated by the Provensens. This is from Flickr user art.crazed who can be found here.

The cover of the childrens' book illustrated by the Provensens. I love those hens.

An illustration from The First Noel by the Provensens. You can see all the illustrations here on wardomatic blogspot.

The woods don't look like this anymore. Most of the leaves have dropped now with the incredible gales we have had for the past week. It was great looking at and walking over carpets of leaves though.

I love this necklace by Etsy seller klmjewelry. You can find her shop here. She has some lovely items. This reminds me of the tiny coloured sweets we had as children.

I was out walking in local woodland a couple of days ago and spied this cute fellow. Not a brilliant photo but he was high up in the tree. I spotted lots of squirrels scampering around in the wood. They are very easy to spot when the trees are bare of foliage.

I was quite surprised to see him start munching on the tree bark. Then I noticed the bare patches of exposed wood and realised that he, or his countless relatives, had been chewing on this tree for quite a while. I looked around and there were quite a few trees with similar bare patches.

Apparently they strip the bark to get at the sweet sap underneath but sadly leave the tree exposed to infections and possible death over a period of time. They prefer some trees to others. I am not sure what species this one is.

He seemed to be saying to me "I can eat all the bark off this tree and you cannot do anything about it...hahah". I knew squirrels could be very destructive but hadn't witnessed it first hand before. Grey squirrels get a bad press but some of it seems deserved. I hate to see trees being damaged.

I found the website of textile artist Pamela Allen quite by chance when I was looking for something else. I love her bright, contemporary quilts. They are so full of life, colour and texture. Her website is full of lots of lovely fibrey things to look at here. (You will need to click on the pictures to enlarge them to get more of the detail.)

Getting My Ducks In A Row

Wanna Bite?

3 Guinea Fowl

Some of you may be familiar with the work of artist and ceramicist Claire Loder because she has recently been seen at Origin. This is the two week contemporary craft show at Somerset House which is organised by the Crafts Council. I used to go when it was in Chelsea but I haven't visited since it has relocated. I think I will have to start visiting again.

Claire produces amazingly quirky ceramic heads and faces. She is interested in the stories faces tell and is inspired by naive and outsider art. She has a website here and a very interesting blog here with lots of her work displayed.

She's Sunny

Her Hair

Her paintings can be seen here at the Brownston Gallery in Devon.

The Great Unknown

Absolutely love this very graphic peacock wall decal by Sally Boyle. Lovely colours and design. Sally is a graphic artist and can be found here on Etsy.

Oxaca (pronounced Wa HAH ka) is one of Mexico's poorest states but it has a folk art tradition to rival anywhere. The woodcarving men and women of the area are famous for their beautiful and exquisitely painted carvings of animals, birds and people. They are deliciously humourous and quirky and are very collectable worldwide. The book below is one I have had for many years and is full of great illustrations of the art.

Mermaids - Avelino Perez

Turkey - Moises Jiminez

The beautiful Oxacan carvings below are from the Flickr site of Teyacapan who has some amazing Mexican artifacts, pottery and textiles. Well worth a look. Also lots more of these carvings to be seen here on her site.

Virgen de Soledad

Blue Bat

Blue Eyed Fox

Oxacan Jack Rabbit

Friday, November 20, 2009

It's Raining Cats And Dogs

We complain about our wet weather but compared to the poor residents of the North West of England, we have nothing to complain about. They have had dreadful flooding over wide areas and destruction of homes and livelihoods. Sadly some people have also died as a result. Sitting here in the drier south of the country we cannot contemplate how awful it must be to have your possessions ruined by filthy water. My heart goes out to them.

I decided to try my hand at another collage this week. This is the result and it is called Josephine's Tree. The lady and the tree are collaged but the background is digital. I was going to paint the background but when I started the watercolour began spreading on to the collaged leaves and spoiled them, hence the digital colour.

Here is the detail of the little bit of text I found that I thought would go quite well with the picture.

This is a digital image called Red Tree. For some reason Blogger doesn't reproduce digital red colours very well. They always look blurry. Take my word for it that there is not a blur in sight on the original.

A couple of gorgeous snowy Christmas cards for you here. They are produced by Canns Down Press who have a nice display of cards this year here.

Snow Bike - Sheila McInnes

Special Delivery - Hannah Cole

Some local shots of our beautiful autumn foliage and scenery.

My most recent charity shop find was the 1983 book below by Joyce Hargreaves published by Batsford. It is full of really interesting printmaking information and great prints. I have posted three of my favourites below. I can't post a link because I cannot find very much at all about Joyce Hargreaves although apparently she has been printmaking for many years.


Scraperboard Sketch


Who could resist this seasonal door mat from Gisela Graham. I love it but I don't think I could wipe my feet on them. It would be cruel. They are far too cute
The weather was wet and miserable on Thursday so I decided to treat myself to a visit to my favourite local contemporary art and craft gallery. This gallery is like Dr Who's tardis. Nothing much to look at on the outside but goes on forever inside. It is a treasure trove of lovely art and crafts and cards. They have their Christmas exhibition on at the moment. Once inside I noticed a display of ink and watercolour original paintings by an artist I was blogging about last week - Flora McLachlan. What a coincidence. They were so dainty and detailed in real life. I didn't realise that she painted as well as doing printmaking. I also found a couple of her images on greetings cards by PrimeArts. You can see the others here on their website. These will definitely remain with me.

Greetings cards by Flora McLachlan

I have been reading a lot about the newly opened Anthropologie shop in London lately and after seeing these necklaces on their website I think I will have to pay them a visit soon. They have lots of gorgeous jewellery on show. This is the US link but I am sure they will have similar in Regent Street.

Idlyll Respite Neclace

Stone Garden Necklace

Cornelia Forster was a very prolific Swiss artist and craftswoman who created in many media including paintings, drawings, sculpture, tapestry, embroidery, ceramics, photography and poetry. Quite an extensive list. I don't suppose she had much time to herself. You can see a lot of her work at Adhikara here.

I really like her simple and attractive fruits below

and totally love this woodcut. It is very simple but beautiful.

I came across some exquisite stained glass on the Internet the other day. I have posted about stained glass before (and probably will again) as I absolutely love it. Traditional or contemporary, it doesn't matter. I think the colours are so vivid and vibrant that they sing. Only glass illuminated by light can give you that effect.

Here are some wonderful examples by Ann Sotheran who can be found here, Hazel Yabsley here and Angharad Whitfield here.

Angharad Whitfield - Allium

Angharad Whitfield - In The Garden (Autumn)

Angharad Whitfield - If Nothing Ever Changed There Would Be No Butterflies (Detail)
(See the complete window here)

Hazel Yabsley - Change Of Wind

Curlew by Ann Sotheran