Thursday, December 16, 2010

Happy Christmas Everyone - Back on 9 January (still trying to complete my sketchbook)

Well, we are ankle deep in snow if not knee deep...yet. We are being threatened with a lot more snow though and extremely cold temperatures. The temperature locally was -19.6C last night and that is very cold for the south-east of England. The country has drawn to full stop of course; what else would we expect. We don't do extremes of weather here. There may even be some left for Christmas Day which would be amazing.

This is my last blog post until the New Year as I am getting very behind with my Sketchbook Project and have just had an email to say that they have to have a posting date of 15 January and that is not that far away now. I don't want to miss the boat after all my hard work.

I enjoyed drawing this. I used an old image of my lovely cat Tiggy who is sadly no longer with us, but I changed his white bits around. The tree is quirky and a last minute addition but I like it. It looked a bit bare and needed an extra something and there is always a tree to fit in my world.

This is UFO from way back. It wasn't working and I decided to leave it for a few months and then reconsider it. It turned out to be a lot longer than a few months and I am still not convinced by it. I think the boat is too pale and needs more work on it. Still, this is it for now.

The new title is The Hitchhiker

Here is another drawing from my Sketchbook Project book. It is coming along but more slowly than I would like. I quite like this one. It will probably find its way to being a proper drawing eventually.

I love these two Hildegard Van Heerden etchings. I really like her restrained palette and simplified, elegant forms.


Pillow Talk

Well, the unthinkable has happened again in the UK in these times of global warming. We have had snow. Heavy falls for the second year running. Very unusual, and of course, the country has fallen apart again. Still, it does produce some very pretty photos and a good excuse to post them.

I found this gorgeous piece of vintage Javan batik at the K&SS. It was in a display by Diane and Jim Gaffney connected with natural dyes. It is 70 to 80 years old. It reminded me of a very detailed woodcut drawing, with lovely folky overtones.

Selvedge is one of my favourite magazines. I was missing a few copies but since my last visit to the Knitting and Stitching Show in October, I now have the complete collection. Below is a little taster of them for those who are not familiar. It is basically a textile orientated mag but has articles on many associated topics. Absolutely love it as it has masses of inspiration and interviews with artists and crafters.

I bet teatime is great fun at Mark Dally's house. He produces those gorgeous black and white graphic ceramics. He is a master of the quirky touch too. Go and have a look at his clocks on his website here. They are really lovely. I have come across his work in the past at the wonderful Art In Clay at Hatfield and have always been amazed at his talent. I see in his profile he mentions being inspired by Ridgeways "Homemaker" range. I remember my aunt having that particular range and being intrigued myself by the illustrative quality. In those days they were sold in Woolworth for very little. Nowadays of course, with the great interest in mid-century design, they are quite collectable.

Leggy Stencil Tap Top Teapot

Calligraphy Teapot

The beautiful artwork below is by printmaker Judy Attwood. Judy was born in England but now lives in Greece where she is inspired by the rhythms of the natural world to produce her lovely and detailed etchings. Her swimming duck is my favourite but you can find more of her work on the following sites: PaintingsILove here, ArtSlant here, The Gallery Workshop here and Painters Online here.


Flower At Dafni

Lemon Tree

Swimming Duck

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Images And A Very Odd Tree

Well, Christmas is very nearly upon us. I still have my own cards to write out and send but I think everything else is done. I cannot believe that we are nearly into 2011. Where did the past ten years go? I hope all your arrangements and celebrations are going according to plan. I will probably do one more blog post and then rest until the New Year in order to recharge my blogging (or is that flagging) batteries.

This is a digital drawing using a favourite colour combination pink and pale green. Not your typical winter scene but I like it. The basis of it is another drawing in my sketchbook project book that I scanned into photoshop and coloured, although the trees are pen and ink. That sketchbook project is proving very useful in providing me with artwork for my blog.

and this version is for when Christmas is over

This is a quirky digital image that I concocted from another drawing in my sketchbook project. Took a while but I quite like the result.

I had to share this very strange old tree with you. I discovered it whilst out walking recently. The tree appears to be completely dead except for a large bush of leaves growing from two places. I have uploaded one of the leaf bushes but the other one is completely different. I don't really understand how this has come about but then I am no botanist.

This view looks like a tree giant preparing to hurl a ball of leaves and twigs at someone.

Here are another three great Christmas card designs that I found at the weekend. Christmas always brings out some lovely images, with birds being popular themes.

Richard Barrett for Paper Rose

Emma Pack for Avocado Designs. Such a cute Christmas design. I love the birds.

Agnieszka Jatkowska - Dove Over Bethlehem. Another lovely Ling card. Agnieszka has worked as an in house designer for them. You can see more of her lovely work on her website here.

Many years ago I found a beautiful picture without any title or artist name and I pasted into one of my art inspiration scrapbooks. Every time since that I have looked at that image I have wondered who painted it and a little while ago, quite by chance, I found out. I happened to see the book below in a charity shop and thought ha...I will have to get that. It was whilst I was leafing through that I found my blue angel. They say that everything comes to she who waits.

Cecil Collins died in 1989 but he left a wonderful catalogue of visionary and inspirational artwork which has been distributed to many galleries including the Tate in London. His images of archetypes such as angels, sybils and fools are intriguing and I think he had quite a naive, folk style although others would probably disagree. Anyway, I love what he did and I love this book which was published by Judith Collins to celebrate his retrospective at the Tate. There is now another book published which has for the cover the image at the bottom - The Great Happiness. I think I would like that one too...haha.

Cecil Collins Book

Head Of An Angel

The Sleeping Fool

Bird Singing In A Tree

Hymn To Night

The Great Happiness

You can see by the proponderance of images containing those cold, white, spiky things that we have had frost after frost lately. So pretty to photograph but oh my fingers...! I had to put my gloves back on quickly or I swear I would have frostbitten digits. Not a good thing for artists, or anyone come to think of it. Sometimes the hoar frost lasted for several days and gave the trees such a wonderful, otherworldly appearance. I won't mention Narnia again.

These delightfully whimsical creations are the work of American Etsy crafter Laura of Blue Terracotta. Laura lives in France with her family. My eye was taken by these textile bird brooches which she makes from decorator and vintage fabric remnants, but her shop is also full of other lovely mixed media pieces from recycled and found objects, soft sculptures and plushies. Definitely worth visiting. You can find her at her Etsy shop here and also at her website here.

Fabric Bird Brooches

Textile Bird Brooch

Egyptian Fabric Bird Brooches

Floral Linen Owl Pillows

The lovely paintings below are the work of very talented French artist Veronique Avon. She was originally from Provence but now lives in Herefordshire in England. Her very varied work shows a combination of scenes from both places. She has created work in traditional oils and also more whimsical images. You can find lots to look at on her website here. I love the delicately painted angels below. They have a feel about them of the illustrations you would find in medieval books.

Ange Gaucher
Ange Drotier