Tag Archives | art

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.

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!!

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