Thursday, 21 February 2008

New collaged ATC's

Been a busy bee again, getting involved with an ATC chain swap and completed three new ATC's today. I can't help but feel that I have a very different approach to many of my ATC-swapping friends and although I love the cards that I get in return I find that unless I deliberately set out to copy a style that I like (the appproach, use of images and techniques) I always drift back to where I started from. I guess that everybody does to some extent but I worry about what seems to be a lack of progress.

for example: jazzy backgrounds... and why not? However my main technique, collage, seems to cover up most of the background so I end up positioning the images to show what is left (of the background) as well as with respect to other images.

Rubber stamping: may be because I have not got a large collection of stamps but I only seem to use them to fill empty spaces, sort of throw away images if you like.

And the themes I use are nearly always humerous; I have built up a collection of quotes which I feel would make for good subject matter but haven't used them , yet!

Anyway, peolple seem to like them so maybe I shouldn't worry. here are the new cards:-

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The first was going to be about waiting for a phone call, but as I searched for images to build up the picture, I went with the circles which were mostly clocks. Hence the title, "Clock Watching", I guess when you're waiting for a call, the time passes slowly (aka a watched pot never boils)' . Believe it or not the main figure was cosen because of the red hat..... it seemed to fit with the background colours.

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This was one done with a backing paper I painted with acrylics, at the same time as the images I posted here. Again I chose the images because the shapes fitted together and made a pleasing composition. here is where I filled in the background with stamping. I found I had to leave this one for a good few days before I decided that it was complete and simply added the text to finish it. the busy background seemed to complete the overall picture.

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This last one was a strange one. I used the same background technique, painted acylic plus stamping and decided that the figure suited the background in terms of colour and shape. the advert was a late addition to complete the composition. However it still needed something and a search thro my box of bits came up with the ribbon which I fixed with brads of the same colour.
So there you have it my three latest art cards, do I have an inferiority complex with regard to my ATC work? Answers on a postcard please!

Monday, 18 February 2008


Here it is :-

a new auction site for all art lovers, wether you are buying or selling, visit Art And Craft which has just today gone live. this site has been developed by artists (or at least with their help) for artists and art lovers.

Many art sellers have become disillusioned with ebay's attitude to small volume sellers and have welcomed the setting up of an auction site specifically for art and artists (and crafters...) with open arms. Please visit and if you can sign up. It costs nothing to register!

It has been some time since I personally listed on ebay and will be looking very closely at this new development. . Many artists selling on-line are very excited about this, I have already registered BTW.

zetti postcards and a button fairy

Apart from enjoying the weather (see my last post) I have been a little busy making art this weekend. Catching up with a couple of swaps on the New Inspirations art group. I am definitely getting out of my comfort zone with these but it is kind of enjoyable too. The first photo shows an art doll, a button fairy. I have done one or two of these for practice (always try anything once for the experience) but I do dislike the name. I prefer to call it my button angel, don't know why but it seems a little more acceptable. This was to be swapped with Maureen , from whom I received a beautiful example. (She has by the way just started blogging). I have now found a little shop in a craft centre selling inexpensive, fancy buttons so what do I do? There must be other uses for them!

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The next two photos are for a zetti (zettiology) swap which I have entered ( again for the experience ) although I am having great difficulty in making this sort of art. I can't say why but it does seem quite foreign to my way of thinking.

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There is a little hand written text (prose, for those who wish to know the technical details) which goes something like:- At midnight, the invisible man turned to his wife saying, "Should we take our masks off". I have always made ATC's with a little humour but this still seems alien to me somehow. It was done with lots of stamping and colouring with brush pens on a background of watercolour with mica contained in it to give a wonderful sparkly appearance. Great for this type of art work but couldn't use it for landscapes LOL. The main images are scanned and resized, magazine images altered with those brush pens.

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And for the second, much the same approach here, but the wolf/dog is actually the magazine cut-out and the flimsy nature of the image can be seen where it has crinkled up a little. I worried tremendously over this for some time but finally decided to live with it as a consquence of the materials used. The text here read:- zetti man, " Alright, I guess you don't think that this helmet goes with this dress, but enough is enough". Zetti dog, "HHHOOOWWWLLL".
I seem to just throw everything at these zetti things because as I said I really don't understand the idea. I can't see what makes a zetti image. What differentiates it from a humerous image under any other name? Don't know why but it does trouble me and I think it shows in the images.
Well off to do my bit around the house before my wife leaves me...

More glorious, sunny weather

Couldn't resist a couple of photos again..........

The weather here in the UK is completely unseasonable and has been said to be the warmest February on record. (We have also had some very cold nights because of the lack of cloud cover). We decided to go for an afternoon out to enjoy yet another weekend os sun, this time to a local National Trust property called Baddesly Clinton. It is an old, moated manor house dating back to the thirteenth century. Lots of attractive walks!

After a quick lunch in the restaurant, we decided to do a quick tour of the woods, which encircle a small lake. These photos show the glorious sunshine AND the thick layer of ice on the lake. Had to take a snap of the ducks walking across the ice.... and laughed out aloud when one of them flopped into the water when it came across a hole in the ice.

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This last photograph is of a stand of trees which I mean to paint everytime I visit the property. Perhaps having mentioned this on here, I will finally do it. Watch this space!!!
Bye for now.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

watercolour texture effect with bubblewrap?

Hi this is just a convenient place to post this image. It's a little experiment using bubble wrap paper ( small bubbles) to create a texture effect in a watercolour background.

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The paint is applied fairly freely and then before it dries it is covered in a film of bubble wrap. Obviously there are different sizes so use the most relevant to the size of your image. The bubble wrap must be left in situ until the paint is dry, I put a card on top and a small weight to hold it in place but it may not be necessary. The plastic film forms a meniscus where it touches the paper and "wicks" the paint to the join.
This can also be done with scrunched up cling film or similar plastics. I read about this technique some time ago and have only just tried it to demonstrate the effect, factors such as wetness, paper and drying time will all have an effect. If you want to try this technique I suggest a few experiments for yourself.
BTW you can't tell from this photo but I have just found a set of watercolours containing mica. Gives a wonderful glitzy/sparkly effect for backgrounds. In the right circumstances it can add another dimension to these backgrounds.
Back soon with more ATC's.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

music, another toy for my blog

Couldn't resist this............................

My main interest has always been music. Art I have to confess is a not inconsiderable second. When I saw this widget on a blog today, I had to have one (thanks Joey). I have found a couple of tracks (from the hundreds that they have done) by the Shadows and Hank Marvin rom the lists on the site. I will hopefully be adding more.

Although I have many other likes in music, the Shadows have always stood out for me being a formative influence in my youth. Here I am in the company of many of the biggest rock guitarists of my generation. Hank has always been a musicians musician and the Shads were a stable background to conquer the world. (USA excepted unfortunately).

I hope you like the tracks, some of them are unfortunately a little dated but if you grew up in the early 60's they are so reminiscent of the era.

BY THE WAY: it should be obvious but it took me a little while to figure it. With many of these players when you navigate away from a page the music stops with this player it seems not to ----- you have to manually stop the player using the control button II. Sorry about that.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

A Sunny February Walk in Pictures

Hi again, well after yesterday's post my wife decided that we should go out for the day (well it was nearly lunchtime when we went out) and enjoy the wonderful "spring" sunshine. It has been completely untypical of the weather over the past couple of days and the sun has been shining since Saturday. We ended up at a favourite spot (nice walk and a convenient cafe at the end) near Redditch, the Arrow VAlley Country Park).

As it was the first day of half-term you can imagine the number of kids and their moms, and a surprising number of dads who had had the same thought as us. Luckily most of them were enjoying the kids playground and we didn't see too many on our walk. I took my camera and have posted three shots here which I think bring out the unseasonal weather very well.

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Look at that sky - early February and not a cloud in sight! the walk goes around a large lake which is inhabited by loads of ducks, swans, geese, coots and other waterfowl - not forgetting the seagulls swooping over it. In this phot at one end of the lake, where it narrows drastically I seem to have got away without many of the birds in the shot.

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Another shot across the lake with just a few of the inhabitants preening themselves.

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The most amazing thing about the weather recently is the effect it is having on the plants. they seem to be flowering out of season. I have a Jasmin in my backgarden which has been in full flower since last November... and you probably know it is a spring flowering shrub, expected to blossom march -april. I am not sure what this tree is but I can't believe it should be flowering in February.

Monday, 11 February 2008

ATC's reworked for pizzaz

hi, not been too creative over the weekend and felt a need to make some sort of posting. So I am going to show you a couple of reworked ATC's which I did a litle while ago. The originals were crafted using new stamps which I had aquired onto a random watercolour backing using a wet-into-wet technique. I was a little new to stamping and I thought after they had been around for a while that the main images did not stand out enough - no pizzaz.

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No problem - I found out that it was permissible to colour in stamped images, and why not? So here are two of these cards reworked to add clarity and emphasis to the images.

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The third stamping is still too indistinct - and after seeing it on the screen like this I am now going back in for a third time to give it a pale wash. the multiple images were intened to convey movement but using different colours has taken this sense of action away, I feel. Still it's all about learning isn't it, and next time I try to convey this feeling I will attempt to do better, using lighter washes of the same colour so as to fade the 2nd and 3rd images into the background.

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This image used metallic gel pens for the doodling (prose) and the stamped image across the top was done with a gold colouring. It does not show up too well under the conditions used to take the photo. Again the "after image" may be too weak now that the main image is filled with the watercolour wash?
But they certainly have more of that missing pizzaz, don't you think?
Off now to do a bit of crafting while I have a chance, hope to be posting new work in a couple of days - hope to see you back here, John

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

ATC swap confirmed

I mentioned recently that I had some hopes of converting some of my art group to ATC's. We had our AGM (boring stuff mostly) last night and we discussed what we call our special evenings for 2008. These are really workshops led by one or other of us and I managed to get them to agree to do a collage evening. We will be doing one or more ATC's and swapping them at the end of the evening. HA! there will be a few converts I am sure.

The group has been going thro' a hard time recently and we had dropped to about 6-7 members (difficult to tell if a person has dropped out when we rarely see him :-) but last night I counted 13 heads. We have had quite a successful membership drive. Just hope that they will stay and not be frightened off by "daft collaging workshops". Because of the number of new members we have also decided not to hold a large exhibition this year but to introduce them to the idea gradually by holding a few local (in the library) exhibitions.

Completed an ATC using one of the acrylic backgrounds, this one was in yellows/browns. Bit of a hodge-podge really. I don't think my mind was really on it, but I post it here as I like to show my failures as well as the successes.

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I seem to have increased my posting rate recently, don't know if I can keep this up, but I seem to have been doing lots of crafting. 'Till next time..........

Monday, 4 February 2008

acrylic aceo paintings B&W

Hi again, well I have been playing with some acrylic paints and mountboard, and a set of palette knives. I was trying to produce some backgrounds for some ATC/ACEO's in the manner of Lisa Vollrath on her GMS website. She uses this sort of technique on paper in this tutorial. I decide I wanted some sturdy card backings and decided to use up some old mountboard - of course this hasn't much tooth, almost a smooth surface and the way you use the palette knife including the pressure gives some pretty startling effects. let me show you a few after I cropped them to size:-

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Interesting, non? I am going to keep a few of the more interesting ones, as aceo's in their own right.

I have done several of these now in various colour combinations, but these B&W ones were the first that I had cropped to size and I was astounded by the images which came thro'. Must experiment with this technique a little more. May be some more of these to come, watch this space.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

ATC's in a style akin to Zettiology,

Well I mentioned it several times - Zettiology, If you don't know what it is check out Teesha Moore's website and see if you can understand it. There's loads of examples on the Zettiology Group Pool on Flickr. However I get the impression that anything goes as long as it has a fuuny head.

No, to be serious, here is a number of definitions (each to his/her own) compiled by my good friend Margaret Field:-

"Zettiology is a state of mind....a state in which you create art. You won't find it in the dictionary, you won't find it in a thesaurus. Zettiology just is."
"Zettiology is something different to everyone. To me, Zettiology is the practice of making art just for the sake of making art....but unlike impressionism, cubism, realism, zettiology is truly free."
"Zetti is the option to look at art as a playground, a space where I can explore colour and combine odd imagery."
"Zetti is another land that exists only in your mind."
"The world of mystery of odd people, places and things."

"Zettiology is a term coined by Teesha Moore, describing a style of fanciful, whimsical or odd characters, paired with vibrant colors, flowing lines, intriguing text and black/white bold patterns."

Here are a couple I made earlier:-

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They were all inspired by some cut-offs from fun with wet-into-wet watercolour backgrounds. Not wishing to waste them (as if I would) I have used the backgrounds to develop the Zetti ATC's

Watercolour ACEO's

Still playing with new toys, I have added a movie of some of my old watercolour aceo's to the page. You will find it at the bottom of the main blog page. Just whistfully browsing some of my stuff on photobucket and started playing with this widget. I thought why not put this on my blog? So here it is. A constant reminder of the sort of thing thing which I am determined to get back to.

I do enjoy the collaging and crafting, so free and easy but I am determined to start painting again. Last years exhibition was very difficult, I only managed it by puting together some abstracts . I need to aportion some of my time to painting and some to collaging/etc although various issue at the moment with an elderly parent are taking up so much of my time. I am determined however and the more I keep saying it the more likely it is to happen I guess.

More new work soon.