Still on track (get it? – sorry!)

I’ve been keeping up with my #trainticketart challenge so far, although Virginmedia did its best to disrupt progress last night and this morning by making so-called ‘improvements’ to the local cable network which resulted in no internet connection for a while…
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Early in the week I did a bit of preparation by stamping randomly on some of the cards.  Sometimes it takes a while for the paint to dry and then I forget to finish it or upload it to Instagram and it was also nice to have a few half made ones when I was lacking inspiration. (The allan key is unconnected – I’ve been decluttering the boxroom and had been tightening up some joints in a chair which I was putting on Freecycle.  Though I daresay I could use it for stamping too!).
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I’ve been doing a mixture of paintings based on sketches, doodles, patterns and some printing, like the one above which I did using a quick stamp that I made from sticky-backed fun foam (great for making stamps as you can see).
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This one was based on a stylized sketch of my peace lily plant.  Do you like the negative shapes coloured blue? I think they are my favourite aspect of this design.
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This one is a bit more delicate …
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And I got out the pens and the bling for this one!!
I went to Cardiff in the middle of the week and was glad to see that they are starting to adorn some of the buildings with street art.  Here is one in the process of being actually painted:
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And another one nearby:
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Finally, I’ve started a Pinterest board so if you want to join me, let me know!
If you noticed anything strange happening with this blog last week, I have been doing various WordPress manipulations on it.  I’m working on a new website (all linked together with the blog) with a new opening page but I’ll try to keep any disruption to a minimum until it’s ready for all to be revealed.

#trainticketart Progress Report

Well, I'm glad to say that I'm on track with my #trainticketart challenge so far! In fact, I can't believe it's been 6 days already. I've really been enjoying it and it has been really freeing to doodle and create without any pressure (except for the motivation to get SOMETHING done every day so I can post it on Instagram!

It's not too late to join me – you don't have to use actual train tickets if you haven't got any, use any labels or tags (or business cards for that matter). I've put a link on the sidebar to it, and all you have to do is tag your art with #trainticketart and put it on Twitter or Instagram or leave a comment here if you don't do either of those.


These are the ones I've done so far

This is today's, a quick and simple jaggedly design. I set up a 'recipe' on IFTTT.com to send it from Instagram to Evernote and am writing this post directly in Evernote.

Yesterday I went to The National Archives in London and as I was coming out, there was a family of gorgeous swans swimming in the lake outside the Archives so that's why he is in there.

This was the first day's picture. There is a dogwood bush in the garden (at least, I think that's what it is called, it has bright red stems in the wintertime) and the leaves are two colours as if they have been nibbled round the edges with a different colour. Not quite these colours, the outer one is more creamy white than yellow….

I'm going to try and do a progress report every week but if you want to keep track of how it's going, follow me on Instagram!

Train ticket art project

If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen me posting slightly curious photos of what I was doing last week.

A few years ago, I started collecting train tickets rather than throwing them away after journeys, because it occurred to me that they were the perfect size for little pieces of art or personalized labels/tags or business cards.  In the UK they are just a bit smaller than ATCs (Artists’ Trading Cards), and have nicely rounded edges.  Also, whenever you go on one train journey you seem to acquire about 8 of these, particularly as it often works out cheaper to split the journey into two rather than buying one for the whole way (even if you stay on the same train for the whole journey) – daft, I know!

I’ve been randomly experimenting with them over the years, painting over some of them with black or white gesso to cover them, but last week I realised that I have several hundred of them now so decided to do it systematically.  It was also fun to look back over where I had been and recall nice memories of days out.

I laid down some textured wallpaper (which has now been randomly decorated in a pastel coloured rectangular grid!) and here is the first lot of tickets.

This is a mixture of white gesso and opaque white screenprinting ink which was getting a bit thick and needed to be used up.

I painted the first side and left it to dry.  I got bored with white after a while and mixed some Dr PH Martin inks into it to have a bit of variety.

Once dry, I flipped them over and repeated the process.  The whole thing took me most of last week but it was quite a meditative process and now I have a box of ready made artist cards.  Now, the thing is, I’ve been feeling that I need to do a bit of art or sketching every day to keep my arty mojo going …

So…. I’m going to set myself an Art Challenge: to paint or draw on one each day … at least until Christmas.  I’m not going to labour over them or take a great deal of time, just have fun and splash paint or mess around with a pen and a doodle, and I’ll post them on Instagram using the hashtag #trainticketart .  If you would like to join me, I’d love the company!  Let’s see how much #trainticketart we can produce! Just leave a comment here,  post pics on Instagram or Twitter or on your blog and if it takes off I’ll start a shared Pinterest board to pin them all.  Let’s see if we can create a buzz!!

Here are a few examples of the cards I’ve already experimented with:

Hope to see you on the journey!!

Patternmaking in MMID Summer School

This blog has been a bit quiet over the summer so far – my youngest son did his A levels then as soon as they were finished we had a few days in London, followed by a blissful fortnight at Limone on Lake Garda in Italy (if you follow me on Instagram you may have seen the ginormous ice creams we consumed in Sirmione at the south side of the lake, plus various picturesque photos of lakes and mountains).

To get my pattern-creating mojo going again, I signed up for the Make it in Design Summer School.  This is a free course which consists of three assignments at two-week intervals.  It has three tracks: beginner, intermediate and advanced and we could sign up for as many tracks as we wanted to, so being a sucker for punishment I signed up for all three.  It has been great fun!  There is a really chatty and supportive Facebook group where we have all been sharing our struggles and emerging designs where people's skill levels range from complete beginner to seasoned professional!  Even though I've been using Photoshop and Illustrator for over a year now, there are still aspects which I struggle with (lots!) and this group has been great for solving some of the questions and problems – especially making mockups of patterns on product images to see how they might look when manufactured. 

The galleries of the first brief are here:

http://makeitindesign.com/summer-school-galleries/

The beginners' brief was a Tropical theme.  In true contrariness, I actually found the advanced brief the easiest and did that first.  Last weekend I had a nasty fluey type lurgy and really didn't think I'd get any of them done but in the end they seemed to come together.   Before I got ill I got the paints out and had a lot of fun splashing round making water marks and generally playing.  This tropical pattern actually started with the background.  I did it a couple of months ago when I had some paint to use up – I had drawn a couple of circles to start me off and I sort of doodled the paint around.  I then added the other elements which I'd already scanned into Photoshop – the texture started off as a tiny homemade stamp carved out of an eraser.

You can see my pattern on this page – http://makeitindesign.com/wp-content/plugins/photo-contest/view.php?post_id=4958&order=uname&p=3

The Intermediate brief was for a geometric, retro style pattern that could go on a swimsuit.  I'm not sure if this really qualifies as geometric but it was a sort of painted mark making exercise with a flat brush, much more my style than graphic geometrics produced in Illustrator.

My pattern is on this page, together with another photo of the pattern mocked up on a swimsuit: http://makeitindesign.com/wp-content/plugins/photo-contest/view.php?post_id=5060&order=uname&p=5

The theme of the advanced track was water and for this one I used some of the painted marks that I had had so much fun with, combined with some bubble prints that I did about a year ago. 

This pattern is on this page, with another of it mocked up on some cushions – http://makeitindesign.com/wp-content/plugins/photo-contest/view.php?post_id=5058&order=uname&p=4

We were given suggested colour swatches for the three patterns and as mine match fairly well across the levels, I've made it into a Tropical collection:

Recent Work Process

It is May and the wisteria is out in glorious bloom on the front of our house so I’ve been busy painting it!  I love the way it sways in the breeze, almost like waves on the sea.

I did the purple blooms first and here is my paint palette while I’m adding the green stems and buds in between.

Spoonflower fabric

I’m just writing a short blog post this time because I am experimenting with a new plugin which allows me to write blog posts in Evernote and post them to the blog automatically.  It’ll be a lot easier to blog if this works because I use Evernote a lot.

This is some of the fabric that I got printed on Spoonflower and it is now available for sale in my shop.   I had it printed on the silky faille which is polyester – it took the colours really well and has a nice feel to it.

Woo hoo! It worked!

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