Saturday, 27 October 2007

Abstract exhibition canvasses

Alright I know I am milking this, but I thought that you might like the opportunity to see all my abstract 2007 exhibition canvasses in one place. You can find these in previous posts on this blog but I have just posted a video on You Tube, so I thought I it deserved to be included here as well.

Please feel free to comment here or on You Tube if you are registered.

The story can be followed from completing my first canvasses, preparation prior to starting to paint, completion of the portfolio and the exhibition report.

I am unsure of wether I am really up to this, I enjoy it..... but am I imaginative (or original ??) enough to be doing abstract art. Must give this some thought before commiting to do the same again next year. Honest answers will be appreciated......


Tuesday, 23 October 2007

A new video of my ATC's

Just a quickie to let you know that if you can't get enough of my ATC's, I have posted another video on You Tube with the latest from these pages.

I am just trying to be generous and share my work with as many people as possible ;-)

It's quite a nice piece of music backing the video which I obtained from , there is actually some very nice material on there if you are into this sort of thing and it is completely free to download for personal use - nice!

BTW, while you are on You Tube, don't forget to watch some of my other videos. the frog charming one is a real hoot.

and if you like Thomas the Tank Engine, well here he is:-

catch you next time, John

Sunday, 21 October 2007


Just found this blog post on the question of wether something is art or craft.

Queen mum explains this very well. there appears to be a difference but it is one that is arbitrarily applied by ourselves. Once you look deeper then there is really no difference at all.

Perhaps the question should be, " Is this original in its thinking and application, or just an applied technique". Wether we paint or craft this seems very relevant, does the work show originality.

"Craft" is often seen as something you make to an instuction sheet. I.e. You can make the same item again and again. But as I said in my last post, artists are keen on making money by selling prints and this is still seen as art (???) Conversely my own crafting of ATC cards uses items which I have aquired by various means, but it is the way that I use these and the thought that goes into the design which makes them what they are. After all very few painters make their own paints and canvass.

ATC collages and papercraft

I think one of the real addictive issues about these cards is the making of new friends (on the net), and one (whhooo!) becomes used to mail from these new friends landing on the doormat as the postman passes. It is the swapping of the cards which is the truly addictive part - not the making of them.

Having decided this, I feel much better about the addiction than I did. After all there is nothing wrong with making friends. And the swapping of the physical cards is far more interesting than simply swapping blog posts on the web. (Please do not feel offended by this remark, as no offense is intended).

Of course my theory falls down, when I remember that I started this addiction by painting and selling ACEO's on ebay, but was this simply to make money - if so then it is not a well founded premise as anyone selling these on ebay will testify. But I did get sort-of tired of painting them and very readily turned to collage and swapping.

Here is my latest batch:- the first is another waterfall card - a simple almost monchrome card pandering to the ladies who love cats. This is called, "Feline"

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The next was knocked off very quickly and was done for a particular purpose, which it suited quite well. I do not ask anymore, " Is it art?" I know what it is and what that purpose is! The title is "Hearts".

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The next two were more in my developing style ( according to some) and both were swapped within minutes of my posting them in my gallery on the Do-Craft site where I do most of my swapping. In fact one of them, "Remember" was requested twice and I am having to do a similar card for the second swap. Again, art is bought into question - but my contention is that making a similar version is no worse, probably a lot better than providing prints.

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Titled, "Remember"

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Titled, "Dream"
So, I have decide that it is OK to be addicted to swapping ATC cards. Now I must work on making more time for some "proper art". I will let you know how it is going next time.
By the way, I forgot to mention that my exhibition canvasses will be going on to Ebay over the next few weeks if you are at all tempted. They are priced quite inexpensively, which is another topic of discussion which I will put off for another day.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

New watercolours at last

Well here I am and not a collage in sight, promise.

This week in my art group we had a fun session. the subject of the workshop was "fast and loose with skies"; the leader of the session was one of the group. We have about half-a-dozen such sessions in each year in order to stretch and introduce new techniques/media to the group. Well most of us had used w/c's and of course we all paint skies - don't we? This particular member had been on a course with Ron Ranson and her paintings had improved tremendously because of it so we asked her to lead this evening for us.

Of course I quickly lost interest in blue skies. I always was a rebel! and my paintings began to look more like my recent abstracts, what a surprise. Such as:-

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In the end everybody had great fun and we all felt that we had learned something. Personally I have always had great difficulty using the HAKE for painting; I find that it is either too wet and there is water everywhere, or too dry and the brush takes on a life of it's own. But I tried it once more and again tended to go my own way:-

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At least I actually got out a brush and put some paint to paper. If I am honest, I even have a sneaking suspicion that I quite like the outcome; and guiltily wondered if they might make useful background for some collage work.
I did in fact take a 2.5x3.5 inch mount and take several photo's to see if they might even make one or two ACEO's (there's a freudian slip, I am now thinking of paintings in ths format as ACEO whilst collages are ATC's). Anyway here's how they might look with a little digital enhancement to the contrast since I took the photo's with flash and it has washed a lot of the colour depth out.

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Well, make your own mind up, it's not great art but I have to have my fix!

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

ATC's with a twist

What a title? couldn't think of anything better so I have borrowed this from.....???.. will add the link asap when I have found it again!!!!

ATC's that fold / open / or something similar are the next step to my getting to grips with these little critturs, perhaps when I have had my fill I might be able to put them down and get on with my life as a painter.

First of all, I bring you two more examples of recent cards:-

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There I Go - from the title of the music folio print

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Million Dollar Baby - using another print of a sheet music folio cover

The next card is one of the so-called waterfall cards ( no water and no falling) but the pictures are presented one by one when the tag is pulled, a great novelty effect.

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Beauty (can you think of a better title?)

The last one I present here is a simple card with opening doors (rather than a more straightforward fold) which is unfinished. I had had a bit of a cold which caused me to lose a little sleep the day before I did this and I actually made it late at night......... You can see in the picture where I cut off the edge of the front of the card (LHS of the front) instead of the print which I had just matted it to. We all make mistakes!!! I stuck the cut-off scrap back on to the backing and decided not to finish it, I will start again and try to do it properly. But at least I got to see what it would look like.

the first picture is of it open
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and the second shows the doors closed
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Another mistake was the mismatch in the height of the handles (brads), Must remember to leave watching TV to when I am not making things.

This is one of a number of ATC's which I have found on the web, which are more images on a simple piece of card. I will find the damn link and edit this post soon, to include it. More of these cards with a twist to come soon.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Addicted to Collaged ATC's

I have most definitely become addicted to these pesky little works of art. They are taking over my life, well my art anyway.

At one time I would settle down to paint (in any of several media) draw or sketch and creat something from scratch. At first I started to paint ACEO's, and found that this pastime overtook the creation of larger artworks. I had to be really determined to start something on a larger sheet of paper/card.

Nowadays, I am spending all my time cutting and sticking bits and pieces to little scraps of paper and card. I need help. I think I am even suffering withdrawal symptoms when I don't use the scissors for a couple of days. Are there any substitutes which could help to wean me off these monsters. Now that I have discovered the docrafts site I am even making some of them 2 and three at a time to satisfy members who want to swap with me. Now is the time to call a halt before I become too far gone, I must start to ration my ATC making sessions and pick up my paint brushes again. I will keep you informed.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch ......... here are a few more :-

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All offers of help to my ARTYFAX gallery

Tuesday, 2 October 2007


Nearly forgot! Had the first group meeting tonight since the exhibition and started the long road to next years event.

We have considered many new ideas and I will, as promised post them here as I have something concrete to report.

As a group of "leisure artists" we know that selling is always going to be difficult but we would be happy to simply see more people step thro' the doors. Our main concerns are to advertise and make the group known locally so that we can attract potential members. As a small group we often do not have sufficient fund for special events/evenings. Secondly, we feel that perhaps just to put on a show to which we can invite friends and relatives and get a real feeling of satisfaction - a job well done - is an end in itself. Sales would be nice but none of us see that as a primary purpose of the event.

We spent lots of time discussing marketing, but felt that the venue may have been wrong. We will be looking at a venue in the centre of the large shopping centre nearby (SOLIHULL) where we might gain from passing trade, as it were. The local aspects will be taken care of with smaller shows at the local library and at local fetes (or even craft fairs, for those members who would like an opportunity to sell their work). These smaller events could also be used to market the main show. More of this later.

The other topic was wether to change our name. we have been the KNOWLE ART GROUP since our formation about 15 years ago. It has been suggested that we change our name to KNOWLE ARTISTS. It may not be relevant to the above problem but we all felt it had a nice ring and was a little more upmarket. Many potential members expect to see a teacher/leader in the group and we are very much a co-operative. We do hold workshops and seminars but one of the group will volunteer to lead the event and everybody benefits especially the leader. We think the name change reflects the way the group works.

So, the problem remains but we have at least made one decision which we hope will turn us around. I will try to regularly update you with our deliberations over the next few months.

More collaged ATC's

Well here I am a few days after the big day and I have been busy swapping ATC's with my buddies on the Do-Crafts site . I seem to have let this form of expression take over my creative juices. I don't know if it is because it is like a new toy, but I am simply not into painting at the moment. Here are a few more examples of my latest creations:-

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Simply called WEST WIND

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It is also significant that I am now calling these cards ATC's and not ACEO's. This is simply because I am swapping them. Always did find that I tended to buy as many as I sold of my watercolour ACEO's so no probs there. Maybe because they are different to the cards produced by a largely "crafting" population on Do-Crafts but they seem to zip off the shelves like nobodies business. Although to be fair the good cards do go quickly. there is a large and active membership -which I have found to be very friendly.
Doing something different is also very good for one's creativity. So as well as enjoying the making of these cards I am also very pleased with the results. Lots more to post soon.