Friday, August 27, 2010

Summer Blog Holiday - Next Post 19 September

I have had such a busy week that I haven't had much time for creating artwork so the pieces below were both done quite quickly. I have plans for doing much more in the next couple of weeks as I am taking my summer blog holiday. The weather is quite autumnal now and the nights very chilly. Where has the summer gone? It only seemed like yesterday that we were admiring the spring greenery and now the leaves are starting to turn golden. I daren't mention the C word but I am starting to think about what image to use for my C cards.

I really enjoyed drawing this cute little pen and ink bird. Very decorative.

Pen and ink portrait of a woman

I took delivery of my moleskine for the Sketchbook Project today. This is an American based project whereby anyone who joins receives a sketchbook which they then fill up with artwork and send back to the originators. All the sketchbooks from all over the world then tour galleries and museums all over the country, before reaching the Brooklyn Art Library where anyone can view them. Finally they are put on the Internet for even more people to browse. I think it is a brilliant idea. You have to make sure you return your book to them before Jan 15 2011. I first learned about it from the lovely Caroline's studio as she is also participating. You chose your theme and then get sketching. My theme is "if you lived here" and I chose that because I can do lots of quirky little habitations. That theme has gone now but there are still a lot more to choose from. The Sketchbook Project website is here if you want to take a look.

I will be posting some of my sketches for the book in the coming weeks.

On a visit to the lovely and ancient market town of Thame recently I visited the huge and beautiful church. I found a couple of interesting pieces of statuary in the churchyard. The dog below is so lifelike it could almost be real,

but it belongs to this stone dedicated to a local animal lover.

This was the only angel I found but she is a beauty. If you look carefully she seems to be gazing at a brown moth.

It looks like it was carved but was definitely alive.

I found a lovely pigeon perched on a gravestone and just asking for his photo to be taken. The strong sunlight really brings out the colours of the stones.

A cute and tiny Thame cottage. It doesn't go back very far either. Just one up one down by the looks of it. Bit of a little doll's house really. I definitely wouldn't have enough space for all my books in there.

I found several interesting books in charity shops in Thame too. One of them is Drawing Techniques by Giovanni Civardi. I will tell you about the others in a later post. It is only a slim book but has some lovely pencil and ink illustrations and techniques about how to achieve them. I would like to spend a bit more time drawing with my pens as I feel I have neglected them a bit lately. Oddly enough I could have bought this book used for 74p from Amazon plus postage but at least my donation went to a good cause. Isn't Amazon amazing? It is no wonder they are loathed by book sellers.

Some nice flowering seedheads I spotted on my travels recently.

Flowering Artichoke

Echinops - Globe Thistle

Giant Thistle

I am a great fan of mixed media artwork although, for some reason, I don't often feature it on my blog. These gorgeous creations are the work of the very talented American artist Stephanie Rubiano. Stephanie originally trained as an scientist but found her love of art eventually took over. She is someone after my own heart with her beautiful vintage ladies and children with crowns and wings. You can see lots of her work on her website here, her Flickr site here, and her Etsy shop here.



World Of Blossoms

Numero Uno

I visited a lovely little gallery in a local town today and found a couple of really nice greetings cards to add to my huge collection. This one is taken from a screenprint by Jane Ormes. Some of you will already be familiar with her work as she is a very popular artist. She creates wonderfully quirky screenprints and you can find lots more here at Rostra and Rooksmoor Gallery. Jane's own website is here, and she blogs here. I had to laugh that she hates men in flip flops. I think flip flops are horrible on anyone.

The second card is one by Sarah Venus of Flytrappublishing. I have mentioned Sarah and the website in a previous post. Well worth a peek here for anyone who doesn't know of them though. I think this is a great fairy linocut image.

Sarah Kirby is a UK artist and printmaker who produces the most lovely graphic linocut images. She is based at Leicester Print Workshop. She also teaches printmaking and artist book making. It would be great to take some of her workshops. I think her work is really beautiful and I particularly love her birds and trees. You can see lots more of her artwork here on her website.

Love Trees

September Bird

Mrs Griffith's Starling

72-78 New Walk

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Two Cats And A Frog

I was very amused at an incident at our local large supermarket today. I set off the alarm as I entered the store and was stopped by the security guard. I told him that I hadn't bought anything yet and he laughed. He wanted to know if I had a new jacket on. I was wearing one about a year old and had often visited the shop in it in the past. It turned out that it had a magnetic strip carefully hidden inside the washing instruction label. I wasn't even aware that it was there but he must have had experience of exactly that. It is the kind of tiny magnetic strip shops use on all sorts of "expensive" items like DVD's, pricey cosmetics etc. The shop where I bought my jacket should have removed it when I purchased it. He told me that the store had upgraded their security system and it was much more sensitive now, hence it recognised my magnetic strip whereas before it had ignored it. I went home and removed another one that I had in a similar jacket just in case. I bet the security guards were kept busy removing those strips from customers clothing since the upgrade.

This is The Gardener's Cat and took quite a while to draw. Not too sure about the text at the bottom though. I may change it to another font as I think it looks a bit messy and I think it would show up more if it were black.

I couldn't resist taking this photograph on a visit to Studham church recently. I have seen many, many churches in my time but never one with roses around the porch.

This is the beautiful monument that I had been meaning to photograph for some time. It is in Waterperry Church and is a dedication to a young mother who died aged 27 and left behind her less than 6 month old child. I think it is the most poignant and lovely sculpture and you get a real feeling for the grief of the bereaved husband. I took the photo by natural daylight because it gives a lovely glow to the marble.

If you love dogs and textiles you will love Sue Britton's website "Dogs in Stitches" here. Sue is a UK textile designer who creates beautiful and quirky studies of dogs getting up to all sort of mischief. She uses her own three dogs as inspiration and loves to include patterns and embellishment. Her website is a delight to browse and the dogs are irresistible.

Countryside Capers (detail)

Bundle Of Fun

Whilst cat sitting the other week I noticed Abby peering at something in the grass.

It turned out to be a frog who had been jumping around near the pond. It very obligingly kept still whilst I took its photo. Unfortunately Abby was intent on making the frog's very close aquaintance and I had to use one hand to fend her off and the other to photograph the frog. Eventually it returned to the pond and safety.

Poppy was paying absolutely no attention whatsoever, being more interested in a little laid back grooming.

The lovely ceramics below were made by UK ceramic artist Adele Thurstan. Her designs on the ceramics are very illustrative in nature and are produced from her pen and ink drawings which are screen printed using ceramic enamels on to the item. You can find more of Adele's work here at New Ashgate Gallery and here at Cambridge Contemporary Crafts.

I love Joe McLaren's illustrations. He has such a talent in whatever medium he happens to be working in. I think these Christmas cards below are a touch of genius and I wish I had thought of them. He knows exactly which colours to put together. You can find lots of his work if you do a google search for his name but otherwise he can be found here on his Flickr page.

Christmas Card 2

Christmas Card

Three Chickens On An Overcast Day

Three Chickens And Oast House

UK artist Jenny Holm's paintings are quite magical. They have a wonderful movement and rhythm and a lot of my favourite subjects. Her ladies are quite beautiful with their clothes and long hair flowing and her landscapes and trees are mystical and mysterious. Jenny sets the scene with colour and mood and leaves the viewer to decide on the narrative. She is based in Northumberland and you can find lots more lovely artworks here at The Biscuit Factory and here at her Axis site.

Hurrying Home

A New Day Dawning

With The Wind In Her Hair

Feeding The Birds

Friday, August 13, 2010

Textile Chickens And Angel Blessings

My images this week are both angels with blessings. I told you I would be doing a lot of angels now that I have my copyright free angel book, although actually the digital angel predates the book.

This is my first etching for quite a while. I have gone over to washable etching ink now as I was making a hideous mess with the other one. The result is just as good to my eyes although there are probably some traditionalists who don't agree. I only have blue and black ink at the moment but I will get some more colours soon. I must say I am very pleased with how this has turned out and I don't say that very often with my etchings, being a beginner to the medium. I am definitely finding the inking up the most difficult part of the process but I have the same problem with linocuts too. Hopefully that will come easier as I get more experienced at printing. I will probably have a dabble with my copper plates soon.

This is called Blessing The Hare

This is the etching on the perspex plate. It is clear. The brown paper behind is so that it can be seen easily.

Tree Guardian Blessing The Autumn - I drew this quite a while ago as a pen and ink drawing but decided to add a touch of digital colour. I still have the pen and ink version though.

These beautifully complex landscape wood engravings are by the English painter and printmaker Garrick Palmer. He was born in Portsmouth in 1933 and taught at Winchester School of Art at the same time that I lived in the town. These must have taken him many hours of painstaking work to complete. You can see more of his work at Emma Mason here (3 pages) and also here at Old Stile Press.


Sun and Trees

We went on a geocaching visit to Haddenham village last week. It is the quintessential English village with houses grouped around a huge village green complete with ancient parish church and duck pond. The sort of village the producers of "Midsomer Murders" love. and oddly enough, I recognised this very village in one of the series which I got from the library. I have since read that it has been used as a backdrop by them no less than eight times. The village itself is Anglo-Saxon in origin and the present church dates from 1200's although there was undoubtedly a Saxon church here prior to that date. Haddenham is one of three wychert villages in the country, which is a method of using white clay and straw to make walls and buildings. As for the geocaching; that was great fun and we found all the caches.

The church has lots of lovely green and healthy looking lime trees everywhere. Very photogenic.

This lovely old cottage was right up beside the church. They have some huge hollyhocks and I bet they have a wonderful cottage garden on the other side of that wall.

This lovely old house was on the other side of the church.

A couple of the residents of the village duck pond

and finally a wonderfully textured old doorway of a deserted house in the village. Not sure I would want to live there though. I notice it is number 13.

Josephine Broekhuizen is a Dutch artist who married and settle on Arran in Scotland where she has a large studio and smallholding. I love the subtlety of her oils and still lifes and those Marans' are gorgeous. She has also produced linocuts and collages. You can see lots of her work here and you can also see her earlier work archive here.

Maran Chickens

Field Fares

Three Men In A Boat detail

I love this beautiful pen and ink hare and green woodpecker by Anne Mieke Lumsden. Originally from Holland but now in Somerset she works mainly in ink and oils. Her hares are lovely and you can see some more here at Fountain Fine Art.

Rose Clay's Etsy shop is a delight to browse. It is called Three Sheep Studio and you can find it here. Rose is a very talented fibre artist who uses beautiful wool to create her lovely designs. She then enjoys embellishing them with various hand embroidery stitches, glass beads etc. She also creates traditionally hooked rugs and dyes her own woollen fabrics for sale. A lot of the designs are available as PDF patterns. My favourites have to be the Urban Chicken series, of which three can be seen below.

Beaded Wool Berries

Jacobean Flower Wool Work