It's such a beautiful time of year, autumn hasn't quite gone yet and there's still such a lot to see - plenty of berries and foliage still around. I've just had a wonderful walk in the forest, taking in the fast fading colours and photographing the last of the berries. And to mark the ending of autumn I've put together a selection of my favourite images and colours.
I thought I would offer another couple of examples of using Matchpot paint backgrounds. These are a couple of older pieces of artwork from sketchbooks - the first piece has the dark brown undercoat brushed on thickly so the brush strokes are visible. A very thin top coat of duck-egg blue was added and lightly brushed over with an almost dry paint brush - it was lightly sanded with wire wool to give a grainy, wood effect.
This second piece has bubbles, which I discovered by accident! I painted one side of the paper with a red coat and then when dry I used a top coat of metallic gold (a specialist paint sample pot). I then went and painted the back of the page ready for the next piece of work, and I used a heat gun to speed up the drying process. By blowing heat on the back of the page it created these wonderful bubbles. I have used this technique since with normal Matchpot paints rather than the metallic and it works just as well.
We went for a lovely walk in the warm November sunshine this morning and I collected some treasures to photograph. It gave me an excuse to use the wonderful marbled paper I found in an antique book as the background. I think it works really well. The lichen seem to have an underwater feel - might be a starting point for some seaside themed art work in the future. The toadstools were photographed on the insides of old books and I really like the foxing marks on the background of the last two photos as it reminds me of the marks on leaves as they start to deteriorate.
I was recently asked how I toughened up the pages in my Brooklyn Sketchbook to take the weight of the collage materials I used. I gave each page of the sketchbook a base coat, using a selection of Dulux/Crown sample 'matchpots' - I just love them - they gave the pages a tougher, more manageable strength as I found the paper rather flimsy. However, I also use them quite a lot as backgrounds on thicker papers. I find them affordable (I pick up one or two whenever I'm in B&Q) and there is a wonderful array of colours to choose from.
These two collages were ideas for a birthday card for someone who loves cycling. I painted the paper with a reasonably thick layer of a dark coloured matt vinyl matchpot paint. I then covered it in a thinner layer of cream coloured paint and let it dry thoroughly overnight. I used wire wool (like the old-fashioned brillo pad) to rub some of the top layer of paint off to achieve the vintage look - it also gives a slight sheen to the background, as though the paint has been polished. Both layers of paint on these collages were fairly thick - which means harder work with the wire wool! Be careful - I have worn holes through work before now! On the first collage I rubbed quite a lot of paint off so that more dark red showed through. On the second collage I went for a more subtle look and didn't remove so much, so less of the dark green background is showing.
It's finished! I've finally completed the sketchbook and all images are on my website and my Brooklyn Sketchbook Profile page. I am quite sad it's come to an end as I was enjoying myself so much!
I Remember You - page 28
The last section has been about my ancestors - grandparents/ great-grandparents - the people who have made me who I am. The above image is an old photograph printed on silk and covered by a page from an old vintage book, punched with holes, to give a moth-eaten, antique look to it.
I'm on a bit of a roll now and have just finished the third section of my sketchbook - it's been downloaded onto my website and also my profile page (click the icon on the right to see more). Just seven more pages to go - still brimming with ideas and I am certain that the ideas I've been putting down in this little book will be leading me on to other art work - so exciting!
Page 20 - transfer gel, photographic images and organza
I have finished and downloaded the second part of my sketchbook. As is usual with me the plans changed mid-stream. I have now decided to do four sections with 7 pages in each section. This was helped by the fact I made a huge mess of one of the pages, to the point where it almost disintegrated, so it had to be removed from the book, and of course the adjoining page to it. I am now half way through the third section and enjoying it immensely. The finished pages are on my profile page for the Project - just click the icon on the right.
The bunting in this sketch is made of images printed onto silk, and transfer gel was used to create the faded garden image.
I decided to divide the sketchbook into 5 sections, each with 6 pages - a little less intimidating than having to fill 30 pages straight off. The subject for the sketchbook is 'I Remember You', so I have chosen 5 significant people/subjects in my life and I am representing them with a section each.
The first 6 pages are done and I have added them to my Sketchbook profile page. If you are interested in seeing them please visit my profile page by clicking on the image on the right. I shall be updating regularly as each section is completed.
I am so excited to be taking part in the Brooklyn Sketchbook Project. My lovely new sketchbook arrived this morning and already I have made a start. My subject is 'I Remember You' - loads of ideas already - in fact I'm not sure I'll ever get them all down on paper before I forget them again!
All the sketchbooks will go on tour next year and they will all be exhibited at galleries and museums on the world tour. Then after the tour they will enter the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Art Library, where they will be available for the public to view.
I have actually got down to some art work and started putting ideas down in my sketch book. The Autumn colour palette I put together has worked, and I have been inspired! I have the theme worked out, but I am not quite sure where this is heading at the moment - you can plan it and visualise it in your head but when it's down on paper it has a mind of it's own!
Sketch Book - 'Mapping Roots' 2
Sketch Book - 'Mapping Roots' 1
I love the start of a whole new project - hunting for and collecting bits and pieces that might be appropriate and copying images onto acetate, silk and other mediums ready for transferring, cutting and generally manipulating. I'm off now to do some more sketch-booking!
Well, Autumn feels well and truly here - I love this time of year and change my home around to match the season - tea towels, cushion covers, bowls of fir cones here and there, and even autumn coloured bed linen. I have put together a selection of autumn colours and I am sure I shall draw some inspiration from them for my next piece of art work. Watch this space!
It's the last week of my exhibition, and I have had great feedback from people who have been to see it - thank you to everyone for your kind comments and purchases! It has been a pleasure exhibiting in such a wonderful place. Hangar farm is a beautiful listed barn and I have been lucky enough to have taught classes there, once a week for the last year - what a privilege.
I have been playing around with negative images on Paintshop. I love the effect of it on these photographs - all the warm orangey-brown colours of the Atlas moth have turned into shades of blue/turquoise and the effect is ethereal and night-like - very suitable for the subject of moths! I have used the top image as a background for some moth-based artwork, and I found that using a transfer gel creates a more elusive and a less dominant image.
Page from sketch book using transfer gel and negative image photograph
I'd never heard of Steampunk art until I read an article on it recently - it's a genre that gained prominence in the 1980's, and inspiration from authors such as H.G Wells and Jules Verne. It involves a setting where steam power is still used, but includes elements of science fiction/fantasy - a Victorian vision of futuristic innovations. I love the mix of the old and the new, and the opposition of nature mixed with engineering.
I decided there and then I wanted to do a piece of Steampunk art work, or rather, my watered-down version of it! I finally found a use for the bag of watch and clock bits I've been unable to part with for the last few years! So....I got it out of my system and here's the result - not Steampunk art exactly but two pieces loosely inspired by Steampunk art.
My friend was having a clear-out and kindly gave me a bag of mixed green and blue beads. I had forgotten how much I love this colour combination and decided to make an inspiration board from items around my studio.
The jewellery is from a collection dating from around the 1920's, of real butterfly wings mounted under crystal and set in silver. The wings are from the Blue Morpho - a very large butterfly that lives in tropical rainforests. Their vivid iridescent blue is breathtaking - I have been unable to resist collecting it whenever I can. There was a resurgence of butterfly wing jewellery in the 1950's but I think I prefer the style of the older stuff.
I now have a few ideas for a new piece of artwork using these wonderful colours - it might involve butterflies!
I just love moths. Well, moths, butterflies, bees, cicadas, birds - anything that flies really. I have been putting together a body of work that encapsulates my love of moths. The work explores the balance between the elusive, ethereal qualities of the creatures and the desire to capture and possess them.
I have a large collection of dead things - or should I say things that were already dead when I found them: bees, may bugs, beetles, moths etc - and I use them as inspiration in my work. I don't hold with killing creatures for the sake of it, but I totally understand why Victorians collected trays and trays of butterflies, moths, and insects. I'm glad they did, but I'm also glad that it is no longer acceptable as a hobby today. However, the desire to possess them is as enticing to me as looking in a jewellery shop window might be to others!
I am exhibiting my work at Hangar Farm Arts Centre, Totton, Hampshire SO40 8FT, from September 14th to October 7th