Tag Archives | art

A tale of Lucy the hen

If you read this blog regularly you’ll know that four years ago  I got three hens.  Here they are: I think they had just started laying  around the time I took this picture of them perching on this old tyre.

Our three hens, a bovans nera, amber star and ranger

All three hens, shortly after they arrived to live with us

As soon as they arrived, one of them immediately established herself as top hen and the most sociable of the three.  This is Lucy, an amber star (the white one).

Lucy wandering round the garden

Lucy wandering round the garden

She was cheeky and inquisitive and soon found her way into our affections.  She was never a very good egg layer but made up for it in friendliness and personality.  Sadly, Peggy (the little brown hen) died about a year ago but Prudence and Lucy carried on until a couple of weeks ago, when Lucy got ill and died.  She was a good age – 4 .5 years is pretty old for hybrids who are bred to produce eggs and not for longevity and I think they had a nice life pottering round the garden and giving us eggs.

lucy looking in through the kitchen window

Lucy looking in through the kitchen window

While I was painting the wood slices, I decided to paint one as a tribute to Lucy.  I showed a photo of it to my eldest son who is in Australia on an extended backpacking trip and he asked if he could have it – until he realised that there’s no way a slice of wood would get through Australian customs.  So I scanned it and put it on Redbubble and arranged to have it sent to him as an art print. I was so touched that he wanted it, and I was going to finish it up and add more details but he said, no, I like the unfinished look to it…  While I was on Redbubble, I resurrected my shop there so this painting is available to buy there  now, as art prints or even as a cushion or a mug!

lucy-fb

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Bootcamp

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been joining in an art making challenge called the Make Art That Sells: Assignment Bootcamp 2015.

It is run by Lilla Rogers, a prominent art licensing agent in the US, in conjunction with the various courses she runs.  I took it to help me get used to making art on different themes aimed at particular product markets, and I’ve been enjoying it tremendously, even though it is pushing me out of my comfort zone.  The way it works is that Lilla gives participants a mini  task on the first Monday of the month, which usually involves sketching or painting on a particular subject. Then the second Monday of the month we are given an assignment, with 2 weeks to complete it, based on the mini but for a specific market or product.  If you would like to see some of the artwork which has been produced so far – here is a page with a  link to the galleries.

In January the theme was Edwardian brooches, and the final assignment was to design a journal cover with that theme.  I started playing with handmade stamps first because I like the rough, abstract feel.   I used some of these in the background or for texture (and they also found their way into my train ticket art!).

stamped circles and flowers

My thought immediately turned towards interpreting it in the form of stamps

 

Then I started sketching and eventually I scanned in the sketches, vectorized them, printed them out and painted them in different colour schemes.  Here are the two designs I came up with in the end, mocked up as journals.

pink frog journal

I call this my frog journal though it has a lot more than frogs on it!

 

This is the one I eventually uploaded, I quite like the ‘scary creatures’ sort of take on it though maybe a darker background would suit them better!

This is a very different style of journal; I was thinking lace and delicate tracery

This is a very different style of journal; I was thinking lace and delicate tracery

 

I like the delicate lace designs on this one but I think the colours pop more in the first.

For February the mini task  was to paint or draw scenes inspired by imagery seen on vintage plates.  This is one of mine – as you can see I’m not very good at painting people!

A rough painting of a cottage in the style of vintage crockery

A rough painting of a cottage in the style of vintage crockery

 

The following week the assignment was to paint these scenes on circular pieces of wood!    I discovered that wood slices (with bark still attached) seem to be fashionable at the moment for wedding table settings so I bought a pack of 20 and have been busy painting scenes and pictures on them!  We only have to do one so it means I have plenty to spoil along the way!

lines of wood slices painted with gesso

Here they all are, painted with black, white and some clear gesso all ready for decorating!

 

I prepared the surface and then got going!  Here are a few of them in progress – I eventually uploaded the two boat scenes to the gallery.

painting on wood slices

I went a bit wild – well, I did have 20 to practise on! Here are some of the results…

 

I really enjoyed February’s challenge – I liked the broad nature of the theme and, as you will see if you look at the gallery, people interpreted it in very different ways and styles.   It reminds me a bit of the sort of designs I used to make in fabric with my Rainy Streets series of postcards and my print gocco notebooks.

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Round the World Blog Hop

I have been invited by Shirley Goodwin of Dyeing to Design to participate in this Round the World Blog Hop.  Shirley is a dyer and fiber artist from New Zealand who has recently completed a Bachelor of Applied Media Arts (Visual Media) degree in Invercargill and I have loved watching her progress.  Shirley and I have actually met – she came to stay with us for a few days when she visited the UK in 2010 (I can’t believe it was so long ago, Shirley!)

The rules of the Blog Hop are that we have to answer some questions about our work, show what we are doing, and then nominate some other bloggers to do the same.  (I’m going to cheat on this one, Shirley, sorry!  If you read this and fancy joining in, go ahead, please!  I have only just come across the Blog Hop as I’m a bit out of the quilting loop so I’m not sure who has already participated).  Please leave a message in the comments if you do so that I can add a link to your blog.

Here are the questions:

1. What am I working on? 
If you’ve been reading this blog regularly you’ll have seen my #trainticketart challenge – one altered train ticket every day.  So far I’ve kept up pretty well with it. Here’s a few of my latest pieces.  It has been very freeing just to play, and a small card the size of a train ticket is not daunting.
train ticket art (recent)

A mosaic of my #trainticketart challenge

 

I’ve also been designing patterns digitally by scanning various painted and printed motifs and layering them in Photoshop – here is one I designed in the summer.
I designed this pattern based on a theme of jewels; I did lots of printing with gouache and played with it in Photoshop.

I designed this pattern based on a theme of jewels; I did lots of printing with gouache and played with it in Photoshop.

 I recently put it in repeat and had it printed on fabric at By Hand London – they ran a Kickstarter campaign earlier this year to buy a digital printing machine.  The colours weren’t as bright as the RGB ones in the photo above but I like the way it turned out.  This was printed on cotton.
flower garden fabric based on jewels design

I think it looks more like a flower garden than jewels here, what do you think?

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? 
I think my style is very textural and layered (in fact I often can’t stop layering and wish I had stopped a few layers before – this is where Photoshop is useful as I can just turn off a few layers instead of having to get the discharge paste or bleach out!   I am very inspired by reflections and shadows and I think this emerges in my work quite a lot.
spoonflower fabric with nasturtium flowers developed from a photograph

This ‘fairy garden’ fabric was printed by Spoonflower on its silky faille fabric which is polyester – the colours seem to be much more faithful and vibrant on polyester perhaps because it is a different printing process than for natural fibres.

3. Why do I create what I do? 
 Because I love colour and I like being in the community of artists and makers online.  I like messing about with paints and seeing watery colours run in an unpredictable manner.
4. How does my creative process work?
Well, I’ve been trying to get into using sketchbooks and moodboards more, but up till now I have tended just to add layer after layer intuitively, waiting between layers to see what the design seems to want next.  I recently took Rachael Taylor’s course, the Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design and learnt to use moodboards to gather inspiration and become more focussed from the start.
Moodboard with lace, doiley and flower fabric

This is a small moodboard on my design wall at the moment, sort of a victoriana theme going on, lace, doily and flowery fabric. The sock is there for colour inspiration.

Over to you!  If you want to see what other people have been saying in the Round the World Bloghop, the easiest way is to click on the link to Shirley’s blog and work backwards; there doesn’t seem to be a comprehensive list of bloggers who have taken part.  Please tell me if there is and I’ll link to it.
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